Pascrell troops rally around Paterson native son
By Max Pizarro | June 2nd, 2012 - 5:28pm
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PATERSON – Aiming for a show of strength in the vicinity of where Dominican American Councilman Julio Tavarez personally embraced U.S. Rep. Steve Rothman (D-9), the Pascrell Campaign welcomed Bronx salsa legend Willie Colon to the streets of Paterson in support of the city’s native son.

“I don’t usually do this,” said the sunglasses-wearing trombone star in front of the massive old Post Office next to the elevated train tracks. “I could be at the beach. But I'm here, supporting Bill Pascrell.”

The citywide get-out-the-vote-operation started with an 80-car caravan that went to all the neighborhoods, featuring a float bearing Council President Anthony Davis and other community leaders.

A day after campaigning on Rothman’s District 9 home turf of Englewood, Pascrell worked hands on the Turkish side of his home town with Ward 6 Councilman Andre Sayegh before heading downtown for the Dominican American rally.

Community leader Elsa Mantilla gave a forcefully projected speech denouncing the decision by Taverez, At-Large Councilman Rigo Rodriguez and other Dominican American leaders to back Rothman over Pascrell.

“We will not be intimidated,” said Pascrell when he arrived to the strains of the “Rocky” soundtrack.

Feasting on hot dogs and cotton candy and a live Latin dance show, two or three hundred people welcomed the congressman with chants of “Bill! Bill! Bill!”

Leaders in attendance included State Sen. Nellie Pou, (D-35), Passaic Mayor Alex Blanco, Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly, Davis and Sayegh.

The congressman left the park to go to neighboring Clifton, where he was scheduled to campaign in the Ukrainian community. 

Going for fire blanket effect in the living rooms of 9th District voters, Rothman’s campaign meanwhile continued to run an ad slamming Pascrell for advocating use of the Army Corps of Engineers to clean up the Passaic River.

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"Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, a Hudson County Democrat, is balking. He claimed Tuesday that members of his caucus are divided over the measure and that his house is in no real rush – besides, even if enacted this year, the reforms would not take effect until 2017, he said. And with the growing belief that Christie could skip town to run for president, some Democrats are not eager to give him another talking point for his résumé. Christie’s plans to stump for Republican candidates in New Hampshire later Thursday only fuel that suspicion." - columnist Charles Stile

- The Bergen Record

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